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Battle for Columnus

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Battle for Columnus
BattleColumnus.jpg
A wounded Iron Hands Space Marine battles Orks on Columnus
Date 260.M41
Location Columnus
Outcome Imperial Victory
Combatants
Imperium Orks
Commanders
Iron Father Kristos
Shadow Captain Stenn (KIA)
Zagdakka (KIA)
Strength
1/3 of the Iron Hands
Raven Guard
Imperial Guard
30 Legio Ferrax Titans
Skitarii
Legio Cybernetica
Waaagh!
Losses/Survivors
Heavy, including all Raven Guard Annihilated

The Battle for Columnus (also referred to as the Weirdwaaagh!) was a campaign fought by the Imperium on the Forge World of Columnus in 260.M41.[1a]

Overview

Shortly after the Battle on Dawnbreak, Clan Raukaan was again tasked with leading another Iron Hands mission. This time they were to defend the Forge World of Columnus from an incoming Ork Waaagh!. A third of the Chapter's strength was ultimately deployed for the operation, with ten Iron Fathers leading the expedition. Accompanying the Iron Hands were 30 Titans from their close allies in the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Legio Ferrax. They were to bolster the Skitarii, Cataphract Class Robots, and Imperial Guard forces already assembled on Columnus. The Iron Hands beat the Orks arrival to Columnus, laying out their forces in three Company-sized armies at Kemlos, Urdri, and Slartav. Surprisingly, the Marines discovered that the Raven Guard under Shadow Captain Stenn had also arrived to defend Columnus from the Greenskins, something that caused a degree of anger among the Iron Hands. Nonetheless the two forces were tacitly allies, and the Ork invasion arrived several days later.[1a]

The Ork attack began with a massive psychic assault on Columnus that sent most of their Astropaths into painful deaths. The gigantic but crudely constructed Ork fleet, led by Roks, then threw itself at the Forge World, overrunning Columnus' Orbital Defense Platorms despite suffering heavy losses. The Greenskins then began to descend en mass on Columnus, their landing craft driving through a heavy field of anti-aircraft fire by sheer numbers. The largest Ork Space Hulk moved over Columnus' surface and launched a devastating orbital barrage, mauling the Imperial defenders and obliterating entire Regiments. An estimated 40% of the planets defenders were lost in a single stroke.[1a]

Taking advantage of the devastation provided by their orbital attack, millions of Greenskins advanced rapidly across Columnus' vast plains. The three primary Iron Hands positions were among the few to stand before the assault, becoming islands of resistance in a sea of green. Despite large amounts of Imperial Guard forces facing annihilation at the hands of the Orks, the Iron Hands refused to deviate from their battleplan and did not provide aid. Two Reaver Titans from the Legio Ferrax, the Dictat Ferrum and Sanctus Absolom were lost on the highways of Columnus. Meanwhile, Iron Hands positions along Columnus' primary cities managed to stave off wave after wave of Ork attacks through sheer firepower and determination. However it was then that the Iron Hands finally realized that the Weirdwaaagh! had arrived.[1a]

The Weirdwaaagh! consisted of an enormous Ork horde led by a mighty Prophet of Mork, an immensely powerful Weirdboy by the name of Zagdakka. So great were his powers that he had been responsible for the previous psychic attack which decimated the Astropath's of Columnus. In addition, Zagdakka was able to use his powers to maintain discipline over his Boyz, producing an Ork fighting force that was uncharacteristically coordinated and focused. Though the Iron Hands had been warned of Zagdakka from Shadow Captain Stenn, they had refused to heed his caution and found themselves unprepared. Zagdakka was able to use his psychic powers to seemingly erase an entire section of Urdri's five hundred foot wall, taking its defenders with it. As the Orks swarmed into the breach, they were met by Raven Guard forces. Stenn however was horrified to see the Iron Hands assembled to his rear, watching the battle but refusing to come to his aid. The Raven Guard were being used as bait.[1a]

Soon enough Captain Stenn was scooped up into the air by the psychic mighty of Zagdakka and ripped to pieces by telekinesis. As the last Raven Guard fell, Kristos' Land Raider Redeemers opened fire, sending the entire breach into a flash of flame. The distracted Warpboss Zagdakka and his entire retinue were annihilated in the sudden assault. With the death of their eleaders death, the psychic discipline over the Orks crumbled. Greenskins began to retreat in confusion, freeze where they were, or attack one another. Soon enough, the surviving Imperial forces were able to massacre the Orks. Nonetheless, the method of victory by Kristos proved controversial even on Medusa.[1a]

Aftermath: The Kristosian Conclave

Kristos' method of victory was so controversial that the Iron Council on Medusa sought to launch an investigation which became known as the Kristosian Conclave. Some felt that Kristos' sacrifice of the Raven Guard on Columnus was not motivated by cold logic but rather an agenda and personal feelings. The on-and-off investigation ground on for decades and then centuries, eventually escalating from a look into Kristos' conduct into an examination of the Chapter's entire philosophy and doctrine since the Horus Heresy. Kristos and his supporters (known as Kristosians) proved unapologetic despite objections from figures such as Iron Captain Verox, Chaplain Marrus, and the young Kardan Stronos.[1b]

At its two hundredth year in 460.M41, the Kristosian Conclave still divided the Iron Hands more than ever.[1b]


Sources